Morrisey warns of weight loss scams

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 23, 2015

CHARLESTON —West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is asking citizens to use caution when considering products that promise to help them lose weight.

Every winter, people set goals to get in shape and lose weight in order to get healthier or get ready for spring and summer vacations. However, those goals may be met with a bombardment of new products claiming to produce desired results without much effort. While it can be tempting to consider easy ways to drop the pounds, consumers should be aware that some marketers may just be attempting to prey on them.

“Consumers should exercise extreme skepticism when evaluating weight-loss products and the claims made to sell them," Morrisey said in a press release. “Don’t be fooled by fast-acting products with too-good-to-be-true health claims promising to help you drop the pounds. It’s likely the only thing you’ll lose is money.”

Not only can these scam products hijack your money, they can also damage your wellbeing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found hundreds of products that are marketed as dietary supplements but may have hidden active ingredients (components that make a medicine effective against a specific illness) contained in prescription drugs, unsafe ingredients that were in drugs that have been removed from the market, or compounds that have not been adequately studied in humans.

“People will buy into products that claim to help them lose weight, no matter the method — pills, powders, juices or machines,” Morrisey said. “We urge consumers to carefully evaluate claims before buying anything that sounds like a weight-loss miracle for the sake of your bank account and your health.”

Morrisey urges consumers to be wary of weight loss products that promise to:

  • Provide rapid weight loss without dieting or exercise.

  • Guarantee permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using the product.

  • Are marketed in a foreign language or through mass e-mails.

  • Claim to be an herbal alternative to an FDA-approved drug or provide effects similar to prescription drugs.

Morrisey further urges consumers to perform extensive online searches for products and services before making a purchase. Refrain from buying anything before reading the website's terms and conditions page, double check to ensure that the product manufacturer is reputable, and search out independent testimonials from real people who have used the products. Above all, trust your instincts.

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